Monday, August 19, 2013

The Liberal Dan Podcast

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I take a trip into the podcast section of Kickstarter to bring you Daniel Jay Zimmerman who is here to talk to us about his Liberal Dan Radio Kickstarter.  Thank you for joining us today Daniel.  

Thank you for interviewing me. I always love to talk about both Liberal Dan Radio and the Kickstarter project I am currently working on

Why don’t we start off with an overview of your podcast and what brings you to Kickstarter?

I have been looking for ways to expand my podcast for the last year. If you listen to any of the previous podcasts you will see that I have had some luck getting a few advertisers to come on board but nothing that would allow me to really expand the show and the listenership. That is where I felt Kickstarter was a perfect fit. It would give me the ability to leverage social media in order to expand both my advertiser base and my listener base.

Your video mentions that Liberals should “reclaim the word and not only proclaim they are liberals but why.”  So what is your definition of being a liberal and why are you a liberal?  

A liberal is someone who will always watch out for the liberty of everyone regardless of the size of the group they belong to. To me, that is the very basic definition of what it means to be a liberal. In my political activities I always try and make sure that all people, regardless of how little power they have, can be treated as equal under the eyes of the law and can have every opportunity available to everyone else to succeed.

The idea of buying advertising on a podcast is very intriguing, but one of the problems I’ve heard people have with podcast advertising is they don’t have solid numbers of listeners.  How many listeners do you have to your podcast per week?  Download numbers?  Blog hits?  

My weekly stats vary and depend on the guests that I have and the topics that I cover. But I know my audience is slowly growing. In June I had 118 listeners. In July I had 196 listeners. This month I already have 142 listeners and we are less than 2 weeks in. I have found that once I hooked the show up to iTunes that the number of listens has gone up and continues to do so. This is one of the great things about the show and the opportunity for advertisers. At this point in time the amount I am asking for sponsorships and advertising is very low. As the show grows in popularity, their commercials that played once on the air will play continuously to new listeners who listen to older shows. As for blog hits, on a weekly basis the blog has gotten a minimum of 30 hits one week and a maximum of 120 hits on another week. That also depends on the topic of the show. However, the blog has been more a placeholder to link to shows with some varied content added in between.  When I have more time to devote to adding content to the site, I expect the traffic there to go up as well. But at the moment I am more focused on getting traffic to the show itself and to expand the number of show advertisers and supporters. Regardless of the result of the Kickstarter, in the future I intend on adding more blog content (to an ideal of daily) and creating more content on Youtube (to an ideal of weekly during slow times and more often during heavy political times like major election seasons).

Is your show more local New Orleans focused or does it work on a national audience?  

I would say the show is 75% national, 20% local and 10% geek. Sometimes I throw in sports too, just to spice it up.

What makes your podcast different than the hundreds of other podcasts out there, most of which aren’t asking me for money to listen?

Well, I am not really asking anybody to pay me money to listen. You can listen for free right now and I have no plans to change that format anytime in the near future. And I will continue to produce the show after the Kickstarter finishes.  I am holding this Kickstarter because I want to be able to expand the show to what I think it can become. I am asking businesses to sponsor the show because I think I give them a great opportunity to expand as my show expands at very low introductory rates. If you are a listener, I also give you the opportunity to support the show as well.

Why is my podcast different? Well, I believe that I approach the issues in a different way than others do. I don’t want to be that guy that simply parrots talking points. I want to come up with fresh and new ideas on the issues and bring them to the forefront of our political debates. I also think I have a way of using humor to make good points. For example, on a recent episode I ran my “words of redneck wisdom” bit and quoted a fellow on his website about a particular issue. While mocking him in a comedic way, I was able to take his words from a simple parody of misogyny and turn it into a serious discussion about rape culture. I think it is one of the best segments of radio that I have done so far and I hope to bring more of that to internet radio.

Also, many people who are doing podcasts have zero radio experience. Even though my previous stint on terrestrial radio was short lived, I was able to learn a lot from my time on the air and I can now roll that knowledge and experience into my show today. Local radio hosts previously asked me to fill in for them and even some current ones say that I have a great radio presence.

But don’t just take my word for it. I wouldn’t expect anyone to contribute to the show without listening to it first. I am confident that people will like what they hear once they give it a shot. So I would just ask everyone to go listen to the show and if they like what they hear, throw a couple bucks my way.

This isn’t the first time you’ve come to Kickstarter looking for funding, what have you changed since your last campaign?  

I think I set my sights too high on the first Kickstarter attempt. It also took more time than I realized to get the approval process rolling. Most of that time was setting up the Amazon payments account. In this Kickstarter I already had the Amazon payments account set up and I lowered the price of most of the reward levels. I am hoping the prices of the contribution levels will be more in line with what advertisers would want to pay for the ads and what listeners would want to pay in order to support the show (they can do so with a contribution as low as $1).

Regular readers of my site know one of my biggest bugaboos is budget breakdowns.  These prove creators have taken a serious look at their project goals and have attempted to properly budget them out and present them to their backers.  Why haven’t you created a budget breakdown?  What is the $600 for?  

The $600 represents the minimum costs that I have to run the show with no expansion (at least by a little). I budgeted 10% of the costs to be taken out of the funds raised because of Kickstarter fees. Blog Talk Radio charges $399 a year for the minimum premium level. I have an LLC so the annual report required to be filed to the state costs $30. That takes up $489 out of the $600. For the rest, it really depends on what is ordered that will determine how it will go. For example, if it is all commercial advertising I can roll the remaining money into purchasing royalty free stock commercial music to put behind the ads. If I sell 20 t-shirts to reach $600, around $200 will have to go into producing the shirts and having them shipped. If everyone contributes at the bumper sticker level, it will cost about $100 to have them produced and shipped. So it is very difficult to pinpoint the exact costs that will take place. If all the contributors are just those that are seeking no reward and just want to fund the show, then more ofl the money can go towards expanding the show. This is why I have not gone into specifics about what the costs are. It really depends on what reward levels are chosen. However, if enough interest in the project comes forward I believe it would be a good mix of each kind of donor.

How did you discover Kickstarter?
I had heard about Kickstarter projects when a friend of mine attempted to fund his art project with one. He was ultimately not successful. However,  with many other projects successfully funding I thought it might be the best way to get initial advertisers.

A key part of successful Kickstarters is backer participation and how to convert a potential backer into a full backer.   How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates to give notice to those who just hit the “remind me” button and surf on?  Interviews?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

Last time around I didn’t do this and perhaps it is one reason why it failed to fund. This time around I do intend on adding some updates (video or otherwise) and include some links to some shows that I think highlight why I believe the show will be good and even better with some help from advertisers and other backers. And when this interview is posted I will likely use this as an update as well.

What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to track your progress?  

So far I have not received any media attention that I am aware of. I have a Liberal Dan facebook page ( that automatically loads new posts to the @liberaldanradio twitter account. From there I will use my personal twitter account to quote the tweet and have that automatically load to my personal facebook account. There is also a Liberal Dan Radio Google+ account but I havn’t been very active with it. I also have a Liberal Dan Radio youtube account but I have not loaded much content onto that recently either. One thing I intend on funding if the Kickstarter generates enough funds is to add some video technology so I can create better youtube videos. I had not heard of Kicktraq before today. I will look into it and see how good of a tool it is.

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

Get started on your Amazon payments account now. Make sure those steps are all taken care of so you can have enough time to start your project for your desired duration.  

Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

I just encourage everyone to check out the radio show and if you like what you hear, please back the podcast so I can make the program even better.

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

Thank you.

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